Snapdeal office raided by Maharashtra FDA for selling prescription drugs

The corporate office of Snapdeal – ecommerce giant, was raided by the Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for selling prescription drugs online. The agency got customers place order for prescription drugs on the portal and raided the offices of the ecommerce website on Thursday, once most of the orders were delivered.

FDA commissioner Harshadeep Kamble said that the agency had received information about the portal selling Ascoril cough syrup and Vigora tablets.

“These are prescription drugs and cannot be sold in unlicensed premises. These drugs are only supposed to be sold under the supervision of registered pharmacists and only when prescribed by a registered medical practitioner. They cannot be sold like regular commodities,” Kamble said. “We will also be checking Flipkart and Amazon for such violation.”

Kamble added that the FDA team had been working on the tip-off for over a month and got several people to order and receive the consignments before they took the action. The state agency raided their corporate office in Goregaon, where they did not find any of these drugs. “We will also be searching for the drugs in their Bhiwandi godown,” Kamble added.

“Snapdeal like agencies cannot act like doctors or pharmacies or encourage self-medication,” the commissioner said.

When contacted, Snapdeal.com shifted the onus on sellers, while adding that the said medicines have immediately been delisted from the site. “Snapdeal.com is an online marketplace which connects buyers and sellers to provide the widest assortment of products. The sellers selling online are retailers and distributors, small and medium business and large brands who typically sell offline too. Snapdeal acts as an intermediary between the seller and buyer of the products listed on the platform,” said a statement released by the company.

It further added, “Upon being notified of any such products, we delist them and take appropriate action against such seller. In this case, we have delisted the products and provided all information to the FDA team.”

The spokesperson also told TOI that snapdeal.com has over 11 million products listed in their website. “Though we periodically educate sellers on engaging in fair and safe sales on the platform and consequences of selling inappropriate products, at times sellers end up listing such products,” the spokesperson added.

The FDA said the violations under section 18 (c) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act are serious and can attract a penalty of Rs 1lakh and imprisonment of three to five years. They will now be tracing the distributors or the seller through which the medicines landed up being advertised on Snapdeal.com. Last year, FDA had cracked down on 27 online firms located in Mumbai, Thane and Pune for illegally selling Viagra to African and European countries.

Source: Times of India